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Arts & Culture

Culture spans the breadth of visual and performing arts, including but not limited to music, literature, theatre and dance.  

Many large publicly funded organisations fall into this category, such as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Royal New Zealand Ballet.  There are thousands of national, regional and community based cultural organisations in New Zealand, a great number of which operate independently and without government support.

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra will tour a new baroque music series in 2019 and expand its innovative Shed Series concerts in Wellington. The Baroque Series, directed by NZSO Concertmaster Vesa-Matti Leppännen, will perform works by baroque masters Vivaldi, Handel, Telemann, Corelli and others, in Wellington, Auckland, Hamilton and Invercargill. The Shed Series, which debuted in 2018 at Shed 6 on Wellington’s waterfront, will return for four concerts in 2019. Each concert will offer a mixed programme of works ranging from classical giants to exciting 20th and 21st century composers.

Landmark repertoire and a feast of new commissions define the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s 2019 season. The national ballet company will expand its touring schedule while continuing its commitment to education and outreach. The RNZB will continue its much-loved and popular Tutus on Tour in eleven centres (Ashburton, Wanganui, Oamaru, New Plymouth, Nelson, Hamilton, Taupo, Gore, Kerikeri, Whangarei and Gisborne) with Ballet in a Box planned for seven centres (Ashburton, Wanganui,Oamaru New Plymouth, Hamilton, Nelson, Taupo, Kerikeri, Whangarei, Gisborne and Gore) throughout the year.

Creative New Zealand, the national agency for arts development, is responsible for supporting, maintaining and developing community and professional arts.  With all cultural organisations, revenue from grants, private sponsorship or ticket sales is necessary to meet operating costs and remain sustainable.

Government supports New Zealand music through New Zealand on Air, which funds artists and promotes their work domestically and internationally. The New Zealand Music Commission also plays a key role, facilitating growth in the industry by providing information and advice to new and established artists.

More than 2.19 million New Zealanders attended arts activities funded by Creative New Zealand according to its annual report for 2017/18. More than 265,000 people participated in funded arts activities, 1,878 new art works were developed and almost 600 grants were awarded through a range of programmes including grants, international opportunities, residencies and fellowships. 

Creative New Zealand has created an interactive data page Our Year in Review to give an outline of its investment over the past year.

This Ministry uses the word “culture” in a broad way to include Māori culture and the cultures of all New Zealanders. When we refer to culture we see it as including arts, heritage, media, and sport and recreation.


Updated on 8th February 2019